Rob Crow Living Well

Pinback front-man Rob Crow has constructed an alluring prog-punk record from the ground up. After the birth of his first son, Crow recognised that his life as a hard-touring member of Pinback, not to mention his involvement in side-projects, was simply too hectic. His revelation inspired a retreat to bedroom rock and Living Well is the fascinating culmination of Crow’s work, which saw him write, record and perform all these songs himself. Though Crow draws lyrical inspiration from his relationship with his wife and the birth of their son, he is elliptical enough so that his voice floats in and out of the din somewhat inconspicuously. The jarring post-punk of "Bam Bam” and "I Hate You, Rob Crow” are tempered by the techno pop feel of "Taste” and "Up,” whose fragile, spooky vocal takes owe something to Elliott Smith. There are some great, subtle beats and "Over Your Heart” contains one that alters the mood of an otherwise mope-soaked love song. In some respects, the over-arching influence on Crow’s clean production and tone might be the latter day work of the Police. Living Well straddles that period in the early ’80s when new wave morphed into punk-y dance pop, and doesn’t commit to either one in particular. Crow is generally a sober presence throughout but there’s an emotional pulse to these songs that’s captivating. (Temporary Residence)